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Transporting injured Airmen to safety

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The 21st Medical Group, along with the 302nd Airlift Wing, conducted joint training with Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Schriever Air Force Base to show proper loading and unloading procedures for casualties on a C-130 Hercules aircraft, July 14, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. Wounded Airmen can be stacked five high and flown to medical facilities for treatment around the world.(U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The 21st Medical Group, along with the 302nd Airlift Wing, conducted joint training with Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Schriever Air Force Base to show proper loading and unloading procedures for casualties on a C-130 Hercules aircraft, July 14, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. Wounded Airmen can be stacked five high and flown to medical facilities for treatment around the world.(U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The 21st Medical Group, along with the 302nd Airlift Wing, conducted joint training with Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Schriever Air Force Base to show proper loading and unloading procedures for casualties on a C-130 Hercules aircraft, July 14, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. The C-130 can hold up to three days of medical supplies so that wounded airmen can be transported to hospitals for treatment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The 21st Medical Group, along with the 302nd Airlift Wing, conducted joint training with Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Schriever Air Force Base to show proper loading and unloading procedures for casualties on a C-130 Hercules aircraft, July 14, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. The C-130 can hold up to three days of medical supplies so that wounded airmen can be transported to hospitals for treatment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The 21st Medical Group, along with the 302nd Airlift Wing, conducted joint training with Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Schriever Air Force Base to conduct a proper loading and for casualties in a training exercise onboard a C-130 Hercules aircraft, July 14, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. The C-130 can hold up to 74 passengers for transport to medical facilities around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The 21st Medical Group, along with the 302nd Airlift Wing, conducted joint training with Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Schriever Air Force Base to conduct a proper loading and for casualties in a training exercise onboard a C-130 Hercules aircraft, July 14, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. The C-130 can hold up to 74 passengers for transport to medical facilities around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The 21st Medical Group, along with the 302nd Airlift Wing, conducted joint training with Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Schriever Air Force Base to show proper loading and unloading procedures for casualties on a C-130 Hercules aircraft, July 14, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. The training helps for prepare Airmen for real world contingencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The 21st Medical Group, along with the 302nd Airlift Wing, conducted joint training with Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Schriever Air Force Base to show proper loading and unloading procedures for casualties on a C-130 Hercules aircraft, July 14, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. The training helps for prepare Airmen for real world contingencies. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The 21st Medical Group, along with the 302nd Airlift Wing, conducted joint training with Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Schriever Air Force Base to show proper loading and unloading procedures for casualties on a C-130 Hercules aircraft, July 14, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. 21 MDG plans to hold these training exercises every two to three months. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – The 21st Medical Group, along with the 302nd Airlift Wing, conducted joint training with Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Schriever Air Force Base to show proper loading and unloading procedures for casualties on a C-130 Hercules aircraft, July 14, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado. 21 MDG plans to hold these training exercises every two to three months. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robb Lingley)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The 21st Medical Group, along with the 302nd Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve, conducted joint training with Airmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy and Schriever Air Force Base to show proper loading and unloading procedures for casualties on a C-130 Hercules aircraft, July 14, 2017 at Peterson AFB, Colorado.

The 21st MDG is responsible for transporting injured Airmen to areas where they can receive further medical care. They assist service members who have been injured, and they can also fly on humanitarian missions.

“Airmen checked patients before being loaded, and prepared a C-130 aircraft to transport them. While in flight, medical personnel can respond to medical situations that may arise until their patients reach the next level of care,” said Maj. La Rita Abel, 21 MDG education and training chief. “Knowing how to on-load and off-load patients is important for when we go down downrange. The aircraft is different but the principles are the same.”

Patients were stacked five high in litters, or cots, depending on their conditions. The top litter is for most seriously injured with the lesser injured stacked accordingly below. If a patient requires medical equipment the litter below is vacated for the equipment to be stored.

“Hopefully this training will get some Airmen interested in becoming an aeromedical evacuation flight nurse,” said Abel. “With our nurses and technicians we can bounce around our jobs and become a flight nurse before returning to our regular nursing jobs.”

Medical personnel are in control of the care of patients and make all decisions regarding medical care. The medical crew typically consists of two or more flight nurses as well as three or more aeromedical technicians. Mission require¬ments may require more nurses and technicians.

According to Air Force standards all medical equipment used onboard must be cleared for flight on a basis of safety as well as efficiency. Much of the equipment is off-the-shelf civilian medical equipment that is specifically tested and approved for flight. Typically, each patient is trans¬ported with three days of medications, supplied by the sending facility, as delays and diversions are possible.

Portable liquid oxygen is required on a C-130 and the KC-135 aircraft. Only the C-17 has on-board patient oxygen.

Since the Vietnam War, the C-130 Hercules has been the typical intra-theater aero-vac airframe. The Hercules can be configured to carry a maximum of 74 litter patients and, due to its availability, would be the likely airframe used initially in a disaster response.

Although primarily thought of as a wartime asset, the aeromedical evacuation system is an integral part of the military’s defense support mission. Disaster response, no matter what the cause, might require a significant volume of patient evacuations. The 21st SW, along with the 302nd AW, is capable of moving large numbers of complex patients over long distances making its resources vital to a successful disaster response.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui